LPGA, US PGA Tour unite in strategic alliance


Miami (AFP)

Elite global men's and women's golf circuits, the US PGA and LPGA tours, announced a long-term strategic agreement Friday that includes potential development of joint events and schedule coordination.

Joint marketing programs, television representation and digital media unity will also be part of the agreement.

"From our collaboration in bringing golf back as an Olympic sport as joint members of the International Golf Federation to our cooperation in helping to grow the game of golf as part of the World Golf Foundation, our organizations have had a long history of working together for the common good of our sport," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.

"Extending our relationship with the LPGA into these new areas is a natural extension of this work and collaboration."

Both groups emphasized that while they will work together, there was no formal financial investment or transfer or ownership or control between the groups, which remain two independent, separate organizations.

"We believe the PGA Tour has significant expertise in the areas that we will focus on together and working more closely with them carries with it the very real potential of positively impacting our members, our tournaments, and our ability to grow our sport around the world," said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan.

"We look forward to working with the PGA Tour team to deliver a positive impact for our sport."

The possibility of joint events could lead to events where the best men's and women's players tackle the same or nearby courses, similar in style to the Grand Slam tennis events and other major tournaments where men's and women's matches are played over the same week at the same venue.

A recent example of what could be done was at the US Open men's and women's events in 2014, which were staged on consecutive weeks at Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina. The Olympic return of men's and women's golf will be in August at Rio de Janeiro on consecutive weeks.